Unlikely Heroes for Unhappy Times

Necromancer's Journal VII

Travelling to Voonlar we encountered a flock of dead starlings, dead through the injesting poison. Thia scouted and found a lake that was heavily polluted, from a stream coming from the mountains.

I urged us to ingnore this and head onward to help out Megrim, but everyone else wanted to “right the balance”. Our new paladin companion is intent on vengance and freeing people from slavery. Little does he realise that some races and peoples are made for slavery. The lizard folk are a degenerate species that should be subjugated and made to serve higher races. It is good for them, as it gives them structure.

In some cultures slavery is used as a form of punishment which is beneficial to all of society. The Dwarven races are a perfect race to be made to serve humans, as they are a stupid and drunken sub human race.

Humans are the true lords of the earth, as proven by our almost total domination of the Faerun.

It is the natural order of things, and without laws we will have no progress.

We traveled up the stream to find a green dragon called Venom Tongue. The dragon luckily granted us passage through its lands where we found a defiled temple to Eldath.

We defeated what appeared be a cleric of a god called Bane – my lightning bolt spells blasting him to cinders. Arnold seemed to know the name Bane, as well as the paladin. I vaguely recall the name in association with master Myrkul amongst the scrolls I studied as a student.

I re-consecrated the temple to Eldath that had been desecrated, after the paladin cleansed the waters. Some find it strange that a necromancer would respect Lathander, and take concern with a temple of Eldath. It is folly not to respect and revere all of the gods.

We arrived in Voonlar to find that the bard Llewellyn has been sentenced to death for being a Harper spy. I now not this Lewellyn, so whether he lives or dies is of little concern to me. If he has broken the law here, then there is little I care to do.

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Necromancer's Journal VI

It has been a long while since I have written down my progress. I have been occupied with matters of academic importance – frivolous writings which do nothing but to massage one’s ego must wait.

Since leaving the desert, I have penned “A Treatise on Mummification and the Creation and Destruction of Such Undead”, while under the tutourage of Erdman Douglas of the Cormyrean College of High Magic.

At the cost of some magic items which were of little use to me, I have had access to laboratories and libraries which have furthered my research and allowed me the quiet and space to write my Treatise.

My researches into the creation of undead has been interesting. I have found that given the right circumstances one can create un-intelligent undead that are not evil in nature. The procurement of a suitable corpse, the casting of the spell, and the motivation of the caster must all be with true and untainted intent. If one were to cast this spell with evil in his heart, it is a dark path that he has chosen to tread.

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Necromancer's Journal V

We have destroyed an ancient elven mummy. I don’t know how I feel about this, part of me is dismayed that I was not able to extract information from this creature. However, I do realise that these things must be destroyed if I am to remain on good relations with the rest of this party.

My companions did not take kindly to the suggestion that the lizard folk are a sub species who are there for the stronger races to subjugate. The lizard man we conversed with was subservient to our power, which is a sign that my viewpoint is correct. They are a race that should be made to serve those with more power.

Perhaps we will meet them if we are to travel to the southern marshes.

The scrolls we recovered are both powerful and terrible. I briefly read one of them and discovered it contains a spell to give sentience to non sentient things. The druid and I discussed this, he suggested it was intended to rise the lizard folk from the mud, but I would like to see it used as a way of extending life. If sentience can be bestowed upon an undead creature then surely this is one way of cheating death?

We travel with the elven guardians of the ancient elven temple to seek Elminster, who we beleive is the best person to safeguard these scrolls.

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Necromancer's Journal IV
Enlightenment

My mind has been expanded. Through the reading of the legendary Tome of Eternal Life, I have achieved a clarity of thought I could never have imagined.

Tiah found the time under a flagstone in the area where Megrim succumbed to Yellow Mould. I now know how to create mummies, as well as their weaknesses and how to destroy them. Upon completion of the tome a magical force entered by body and relealed to me the true potential of my knowledge. I can now have access to more spells than before. I never considered it possible to increase my intelligence through magical means. However, I believe it would prove troublesome and unworkable to seek out other tomes such as this.

The knowledge of mummies should prove to be extremely valuable the further we delve into this complex. We were nearly overrun by mummies, if it were not for the valour of my companions. Particularly a druid who has revealed himself to us, who wielded a blade of flame.

Brak has contracted the dreaded mummy rot. it will be interesting to see how this disease progresses first hand, as I have only read of the disease. Some interesting buboes have sprouted from his armpits, and he is unable to receive the healing powers of either Arnold or Thia.

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Necromancer's Journal III
New avenues of thought

We have lost the warrior Megrim. Curiously, he was immune to electricity, which was his downfall. A discharge of electricity disturbed an infestation of Yellow Mould, and he was poisoned. It is disappointing that he was not a magic using creature, otherwise the facilities here would be perfect for disecting the corpse and furthering my research. I see no benefit to my research in conducting an autopsy on this one.

Of far greater interest was the skeletons and mummy we encountered. The animated skeletons of some kind of long dead lizard attacked us. Their bones were petrified from age, or altered by some process I am yet to discern. Either way, the skeletons proved slightly more resilient than what I would imagine a normal skeleton to be.

Upon destruction I discovered the mummy to be of an elf. Speaking to Thia about this, she commented that it is not a custom for elves to mummify the dead. the discovery of three further elven skeletons in a room designed for dissection lends me to beleive that the mummy was created from an elven corpse, but not by elves.

Perhaps whoever built this complex, or inhabits it now, has taken elves as slaves and prisoners and has experimented upon them.

This is interesting, as elves apparently live forever and have no souls. At the soonest opportunity I should experiment on an elven corpse. It could lead to discovering some of the source of their longevity. Thia would be ideal for this, as she wields divine magic which would dovetail nicely into my other fledgling project.

The facilities here appear to be ideal for my researches.

Of note was the effectiveness of my spell Chill Touch. All those years of practising touching things in The Dark Temple with the hands of corpses was worth it. I found it strange that my Master would teach me this spell when at face value it seems to offer so little. Now I understand the wisdom behind his lessons.

There is a pit to be found in this area inscribed with magical runes. They are from the ancient Netherys Empire – the first humans to become mages. Inside the upper lip the runes read:

“From Darkness you have come and now to Darkness you shall return.”

It is surmised that this pit is used in a ritual to re-animate corpses. Perhaps I can experiment with the corpse of Megrim, as his resurection is beyond our abilities out here in the Anauroch desert.

Following my musing on the Netherys Empire, I recalled that they worshiped gods that are now dead. The disk that we seek I propose was once a holy item of Amuantor that has now been dedicated to Lathander. I voiced the theory that Amuantor was rebirthed as Lathander? Arnold was deeply offended by this, and scornful of my suggestion. He seems to be a fanatic to his religion, which although admirable can prove to be limiting to academic thoughts and pursuits.

We do not appear to be in a temple of Amuantor, as there are no depictions of the sun. My companions are dismissive of my suggestion that a temple of Amuantor may be within this underground complex. The most vocal of these was the dwarf Brakk. I do not understand why the party would listen to the uneducated mouthings of a warrior dwarf when it comes to matters of academic thoughts and deductions.

It is well known that several ancient cultures would hold both light and dark gods in equal reverence. Unlike today where people tend to follow one god, the peoples of antiquity would venerate a pantheon of gods. Perhaps we are within a part of a greatet temple that is dedicated to some kind of god of the underdark. A lizard or serpent like creature. The temple could have been adapted for use by new inhabitants, hence the dissection room.

I hope more will be discovered as we continue.

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Wilfrid's Tome of Undead -Part One

With the request given Wilfrid, Presbyter of the Shrine of Lathander in Tilverton, scurries off to find his prized possession; an old tome. He flicks through the pages, his eyes glittering with excitement as he gazes upon ancient knowledge of the undead.

He tells you all that the tome was handed down through the male line in his family and that he is a direct descendent of the author Barnabas Hyrst a wise and powerful cleric in the service of Lathander who hailed from a small barony far to the south.

Finally securing the correct passages he passes the book to the Alabaster:

The Ecology of the Vampire

Barnabas Hyrst of Barovia

817DR
Glory be to Lathander, the eternal sun, the dawn, bringer of hope and new beginnings
In all my travels and all my expeditions no creature that I have encountered has been more terryfing than the Vampire. Although old age has crept up on me and my mind is not as strong as it once was, I have tried my best to recall the memories of my youth in the hope that those brave enough to stay vigilant in the face of death will have a slim chance of survival.

Unlike other forms of undead, some of whom are not entirely of this world, the vampire retains much of their original appearance. The physical changes that do occur tend to be chalkiness in complexion and a penetrating unnerving stare. Vampires, that take the form of humankind avoid armour, and in most cases will be attired in the shrouds of clothing in which they were buried.

Of course, vampires are not always met in human form. One must only recall the tales of Kanchelsis to know that they can be Elven as well. Folk-law suggests that these monsters may not only assume the form a bat, but also the wolf too.

One consistent factor in all vampiric lairs is that they are set within a locale that is difficult and time-consuming to search out. The creature is all too aware that its need to rest during the hours of daylight is its greatest weakness; they fear the day as if it was Lathander himself come down to smite them.

About the general vicinity of the lair the vampire will have a number of lesser guardians to protect it. This can range from something as simple as a pack of wolves or rats, to one or more charmed helpers to mislead the unwary into going the wrong direction in their quest for the Vampire’s coffin.

The most deadly attack form of the vampire is its touch. One touch from their hands can drain the life force from the healthiest man. They are also known to be highly charismatic individuals and can display almost supernatural skill at convincing creatures to do their bidding.

I heard tale from a elderly traveller that the vampire can reduces their physical body to that of smoke which can travel through cracks in masonry and under doors.
It is untrue that a vampire must always rest within its coffin during daylight hours. If deep underground and well away from the sun, a vampire may operate as normal, but at a reduced rate. But the vampire may not under any circumstances go for more than three days without rest. And, should it be fought and reduced to near destruction while daylight remains it will not be able to invoke any of its evil powers.

I say to thee heed my advice, if a party of adventurers is forced into a confrontation with the beast then their ultimate goal must be to find its resting place and drive a wooden stake through the vampire’s heart.

Certain tools can be effective against the vampire these include: garlic, mirrors, and holy symbols.

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Necromancer's Journal
Acid rain, and not enough spells

Our journey to find the ancient temple has re-started. After gaining access to the book on undead in the Lathander library, I was able to confirm my suspicions that a vampire can be subdued by driving a stake through their heart. Also, more importantly, I learned that there are indeed several different types of vampire. This will require further investigation.

My new test subjects were reluctant to drive a stake through the heart of the corpse of Algernon. I find this curious, as it is merely now an empty vessel, and they did not really know this Algernon well. I hope for the sake of Tilverton that the priest of Lathander is correct in that the body will not rise for three months. If we take too long and I return to find a vampire then it would be interesting to see what type has arisen. It would be troublesome to my travels if Tilverton is plagued by a vampire or other undead, however the prospects for study would be marvelous.

The journey to the source of the river in the Anaroch desert was uneventful, but for passing a nest of griffons or hippogriffs (it was debated and undecided) and an encounter with some kind of acid rain. Purple clouds unleash acid, but it was not determined if it was magical or natural in nature.

I could have done with the spell Feather Fall to gain entrance into the temple we discovered behind the waterfall. However, it would eat into the number of spells my mortal form can manage to comprehend, so I decided not to learn it. Feather Fall is an extremely situational spell. I do not plan to be falling off any heights in the future – it is for my minions to take the risks and discover the perils that will impede my path.

This limit on my spell capabilities is vexing. I will conduct an ongoing research experiment to try and remedy this problem. Perhaps if I can study the bodies of magic using creatures I can determine where the spells are stored. this might be able to be harnessed, to increase my spell repetoire.

However, more pressing concerns are at hand. We are not alone in this complex, and I fear the known way out is now guarded by a water dwelling creature.

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Necromancer's Journal
Alabaster meets new test subjects...er...friends...

Travelling from Arabel to Tilverton I heard a group of interesting characters debating the location of a temple of some sorts….perhaps there will be more test subjects available to study.

What I could only assume to be adventurers (such an eclectic mix of races travelling together can only be a mercenary adventuring party) entered a temple to Lathander, arguing about speaking to the dead. Of course, this piqued my interest. I covertly followed them into the temple to eavesdrop on their conversation about asking the spirit of Algernon about the location of this temple and a disc that sounded like some kind of key.

The cleric of Lathander, Arnold, seems to be young and inexperienced. This is why I intervened, introduced myself and asked if I could examine the body of Algernon. Perhaps if I could glean some information regarding the way he died, then the party would accept me and could lead me to this hidden temple.

Success! My autopsy revealed that the cleric had been drained of his life, possibly from two puncture marks to the inner thigh. The corpse also has a flicker of undeath about it, can only be harmed by magic weapons and heals supernaturally. It is my belief that Algernon is turning into a vampire.

Megrim, who appears to be a half-orc warrior, suggested I travel with the party and would be entitled to an equal share of treasure. They gave me some magical bracers and a magical staff on loan, however, Megrim then suggested that I could have them in return for a reduced share of treasure. His willingness to change the nature of a contract lends me to believe that he does not hold the law in high esteem.

For some reason the party entertains the company of an old hag. I am unsure of her role in the group. They say she is a Bard, however, she did not seem to be forthcoming with much information on the geography of the area, nor does she have the benefit of a charming personality. Perhaps she has hidden talents, it will be interesting to see. Regardless, she was very forthcoming with her spell books. I will have to be vigilant with regards to my own spells, she may assume that I will reciprocate.

Brak seems to be a sensible warrior. Dwarves are known for their forthright attitudes, and Brak is no exception.

Thia worships an Elven deity of which I am unfamiliar. Her skills with the bow are accomplished, which I hope will aid Megrim and Brak in the future – they seemed to be un-coordinated in the fight against the cockatrices. Blundering about in the darkness towards creatures that can turn you to stone is an interesting battle tactic.

It was disappointing to not be allowed time alone with those turned to stone. It would have been interesting to conduct some experiments upon their condition before turning them back to flesh. I will have to interrogate them on what they felt while turned to stone. It is perhaps an avenue to pursue should one wish to preserve their life for a long period of time.

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Plane Sailing

Ethereal plane

Session X: (An account by Megrim Nagafang)

Hehehe – da uvers fink I can’t read, but me mum taught me my letters jus fine. A few too many smacks to da noggin’s made me forget… but it’s coming back in bits an bobs… I better scribble this down while they’re in me ed.

Anyway…
I had a bad feeling about it all, but after Arnold tapped da magical wall, wiv da magical gauntlet, curiosity got da better of us. Da wall scintillated wiv beautiful colours… ow could anyfing bad come from passing froo.

Well as we stepped froo we only went and travelled froo da Border Iffereal!! I mean, how many of da Nagafang clan could ave boasted that?? Mum an Dad would ave been in awe. They may av even fought I was on da parf to finding da Great Kwalib.

It weren’t him at da end of da fuckin’ rainbow dough. It was an Elfin ghost called Carten. He told us we were in the Magical City of Song… apparently an ancient Elfin city.
I couldn’t believe what he was tellin me… bloody mental! He didn’t attack us which was a first for these bloody undead types. Seemed like an alright geeza actually. Anyway he warned us off going any furver and so we high tailed it out of da tomb.

I can’t believe my bleedin’ luck. I got 2 magical longswords and one is the legendary Sword of da Dales, a little horde of gold and a bloody shiny suit of banded mail. I really lucked out meeting these guys… even Brak seems alright… for a Dwarf! Still da tomb warned us of getting greedy and I’d best be ready to give da Sword of da Dales back to Randal Dorn.

One night whilst camping everyone had the same dream while I was keeping watch… how fuckin’ weird is that. There’s magic a foot i reckon. In da dream it was windy and i fink they were flying wiv black wings. They see a tower in a forrest and they dove/fell towards it (Spider Haunt maybe) and they saw crimson lights (spider eyes maybe) in the dark. During the dream they heard a woman’s voice (Silvermorn maybe) saying, “help me lest your own souls find you unworthy”.
… I got a bad feelin about this… kind-a-like I aint gonna see my mum again…

Well we’re heading to Spider Haunt, da note on da sword said to find Randal’s sister Silvermorn there. I’ve kept em close to the mountain finkin it would av avoided trouble, but we got attacked by a pair of ugly ogres… i nearly shat my pants wakin up to a giant club smashin da ground next to me noggin. I won’t lie – A few weeks ago I would av run like a bitch in that same scenario, but I got me some plumbs now… i got me a new clan, a hero’s sword and I seen a fuckin great big green dragon… I is a man now. So I picked myself up off the dirt and gutted that fat fucka wiv two strikes… there were stomach sausages everywhere – yuck! I turned round to see anuver Ogre all up in Brak’s grill (good name for a diner – i’ll keep that for the retirement plan!)… Dagger Kata training kicked in and I stuck ‘im wiv a couple of feavers, but I gotta say that Dwarfen Basic Trainin’ is some crazy arse shit!!!… him an dat hammer turned that Ogre’s ed into fuckin’ pate – not friggin turbo yummy at all!!

Da next day we ran into 6 dwarfs. They seemed alright… betta than them Zentari bitches anyhow. Da leader Duncan said the Iron King Gellin sent em and that they were seekin da doors to da mines of Tethlamere… does any bloody dwarf ave an home? I bloody ask ya?? He gave us a rumour about, “someone in the town of Zazell has a map to the lost gem hordes of Dragthornor and is hiring mercs to seek it out”. We didn’t bite on that maggot though and kept on going.

Anyway, we’ve reached close to Spider Haunt… I’m pretty scared of spiders, but i can’t let em know about it… I mean Arnold looks up to me too much, I can’t lose face in front of da Dwarf or da Elf an Marvelo finks he’s more street than a highway robba! I gotta keep face and my shit togeva.

Kwalib whereva you are I could sure use the knowledge of the wild you taught my people generations ago…

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Goblins...... Thousands of Them

Angry goblin

20 Nightal 1366DR

Session Six: (An account by Thia Amakiir)

It was our sixth day investigating the caverns beneath the Tower of Ashaba. Although this is by our reckoning only, as the days and nights seems to merge into one in this ghastly, godforsaken place. The air down here is heavy, dank and fetid and the atmosphere most unnatural. Evil things lurk in the darkness. With each day that passes I feel further and further from my lord Erevan and I long to be back in the forest and feel the sun on my skin and mossy ground beneath my feet.

The day began with me undertaking a little reconnaissance in the tunnel ahead. Silent as a cat I crept , keeping myself flat against the tunnel wall. In the distance I spied some goblins, toiling away amongst the stone with hammers and picks. I could see that they were armed so began my retreat to report back to the rest of the party. It was too late though, by some dire luck or witchcraft of some sort they spotted me and immediately advanced with weapons and teeth bared.

I stood my ground and drew my bow to give them a pointy reception whilst my party rushed to my aid.

The battle was as swift as it was bloody and all but one of the little blighters lay dead. He must have prayed very hard to his god that morning as he managed to elude both the savage daggers of Megrim and Brak’s mighty sword and made good his escape along the tunnel.

We gave chase and were almost upon him when we turned a corner to find that the goblin had disappeared. Bewildered we made our way along the tunnel when all of a sudden arrows rained down upon us and we realised we had been led into an ambush. The tunnel was flanked on both sides by ramparts where hordes of goblins had been lying in wait. They cackled wickedly as they opened fire but we could see no way to reach them.

I glanced at my comrades and saw that everyone was looking up except from Brak who was staring intently at the tunnel wall. ‘Aha it must be a door’, thought I and quick as a whip Brak had it open. Arnold practically trod on the dwarf’s head in his rush to get through and avoid the rain of arrows only to come face to face with more goblins.

Fair play to the young cleric though, he stood his ground and began clobbering them with his mace.

Brak guessed that there must be another door the opposite side to access the flanking rampart and before long he’d opened that too.

That’s the last thing I remember as a flurry of arrows burned into me and I lost consciousness.

I awoke to find Arnold tending my wounds. The battle had been won without me! It had very nearly been the end of my story but I learned that, thank Erevan, the dwarf had dragged me out of there to safety. Good old Brak.

We rested for several hours to regain our strength but my slumber was not peaceful as I was plagued by the most horrible dreams of spiders. I awoke feeling most unsettled and prayed to Erevan but he did not hear me.

This has never happened to me before and I was most disturbed. I discussed this distressing turn of events with my comrades and we surmised that Erevan must be displeased with me. The only possible explanation for this must be the creepy sword that we pilfered from the altar in cavern with the water elemental.

I cursed my stupidity for ever wielding the wretched thing. It emanates an oppressive aura and my thought capture vision quite clearly described its dark purpose. I should have known but as always my curiosity had gotten the better of me.

We discussed destroying the sword but Arnold and myself were reluctant to do this as we would never learn its secrets and perhaps it could be cleansed and its power used for good. So instead we agreed to take it to the temple in Shadowdale to seek advice on the best way to deal with it. As, for some reason, nobody can touch the sword but me without being hurt, we bound it tightly in cloth and rope and Megrim agreed to carry it.

We carried on with our exploration of the tunnels and happened upon a large room with a table in the centre. Here there were some very small goblins who saw us and ran. We pursued them into another room where we met and defeated more belligerent goblins and then followed the two smaller ones through a doorway and into a larger cavern with a river running through. The goblins jumped into the water and, none of us wanting a repeat of our near drowning of a few days previously, we let them go.

We doubled back and investigated a few of the other adjacent rooms. We found some rancid supplies, but being very low on rations had to take them.

The next doorway we went through was not so benign and we found ourselves face to face with more goblins but this time they bought friends – two bugbears flanked a larger goblin who wore a crown.

Megrim and Brak charged forward to engage the enemy whilst Arnold and I hung back to attack at range.

I landed a few good shots into the goblin horde, and all of us fought valiantly. Megrim and Brak made short work of the bugbears and turned to attack the large goblin.

By the time they reached him they found that he was already bleeding and were able to finish him off swiftly. It turns out that two kobolds the goblins had been keeping prisoner had somehow acquired a knife which they had buried into the back of the large goblin. Erevan surely does send his aid in the strangest of forms!

We investigated the inner room which appeared to be a dormitory and found more small goblins (which we can only assume must be children) and other un-armed goblins who don’t seem intent on attacking us at the moment.

So here we are with goblin and kobold prisoners and no idea what we’re going to do next.

The sooner we get out of here the better!

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